Enrollment Deadline Extended for IAM Women’s Leadership Training Program

Want to build up our IAM Sisters while sharpening your leadership skills? Consider joining other active IAM women from across the U.S. and Canada and participating in the 2022 Women’s Leadership Program March 20-25, 2022, at the William W. Winpisinger Education and Technology Center  in Hollywood, MD.

Download the call letter in English  or French  and return the completed registration form  to the Women’s and Human Rights Department no later than February 15, 2022.

Space is limited and the class fills quickly, so get registered now.

Please contact the Women’s and Human Rights Department at 301-967-4747 with any questions.  

The curriculum empowers participants to look for resolutions to working women and family issues through education and solidarity. It is an excellent learning experience for members to strengthen their leadership skills, build women’s committees, or be interested in the issues.

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First Woman President of Victory Lodge 1725

Dora Cervantes speaking at the podium: “This is a special moment from the first woman General Secretary-Treasurer to the first woman Local Lodge President.”

That new President is Helena Thornton of Victory Lodge 1725 in Charlotte, North Carolina… a lodge that houses two transportation districts, 141 and 142. after general secretary treasurer Dora Cervantes swore in new officers, three of the local’s eight executive board members are now women.

“I’m still at a loss for words, I am so honored,” said Helena Thornton, First woman president of Victory Lodge 1725. “To have all these people here, to have our leadership team here and our own General Secretary Treasurer Dora has really shown me that it’s a good thing.”

So many members packed into the union hall, it was standing room only… to see the e-board and shop stewards sworn in for a new three-year term.

“It feels amazing just to have sister Dora here to swear us in, was something that is just like totally off the chain,” said Renae Miller, Victory Lodge 1725 Recording Secretary. “And to have all the other people here to witness this historic day for our first female president was amazing and I just hope I can do as good a job as she did as the recording secretary and make our local and our union proud.”

Miller has a good role model in Thornton, who acknowledges her own mentors… Assistant General Chairs Mike Fairbanks and Mark Baskett, who she says, never left her side and always supported her. Now, she hopes to do the same for her membership.

“They have my total dedication and support to ensure that this local will be one of the best locals that we have ever had,” said Thornton. ”All I want to do is bring more to it because we’re already awesome.”

Thornton has a long history of performing community service and even received an award for it at the Women’s Conference in 2019. It’s that type of dedication that members saw in her previous work as recording secretary and auditor… all leading up to her election as president.      

“The individuals that were sworn in, they’ve been committed to their local for quite some time, from different facets of their local,” said Mike Noble, of Victory Lodge 1725. “I really feel like they put they weight in and their time in and it proves that the membership recognizes their hard work.”

“I think it’s fabulous,” said April Adcock, a Victory Lodge 1725 Member. “I am so excited, I’m so happy for them. I’m so proud of them. I think this is just an amazing moment.”

Thornton says her goals include holding everyone accountable for their actions and making sure local members hold her accountable, along with uniting the two districts.       

“My philosophy is, because we have two districts don’t mean we’re two separate locals. To me, 141 and 142 equal 1725. We are one.”

One Victory Lodge, proud to make history in a union that fights for human rights every day of the year.

“I’m truly a full-blown Machinist, from my children, to my three grandchildren, everything is Machinists… in talking to them, they just say, ‘Everything you say is union!’ Because it is. You want a pension, you don’t want to work forever, you want a good retirement and if you don’t have a union, Machinists preferably, it’s gonna be hard for you.”

For the Machinists News Network, I’m Tanya Hutchins.

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IAM Milwaukee Art Museum Employees Ratify First Agreement

IAM District 10 members at the Milwaukee Art Museum (MAM) recently ratified a first agreement representing more than 75 employees.

The new three-year accord features guaranteed general wage increases in the second and third contract years of 2.75% and 2%, respectively, with a guaranteed minimum raise of 55 cents in these years for all bargaining unit employees.

The new deal includes job security improvements such as a clear and defined process for future layoffs and recalls based on seniority, and limitations on subcontracting when qualified employees are on layoff. Workers also secured increased access to health insurance through the Machinists Custom Choices Plan.

The success follows a long effort by museum management to deny workers efforts to unionize, or even have a vote. Workers endured an anti-union campaign leading up to their historic wall to wall organizing win .

“My thanks go out to the Bargaining Committee,” said IAM District 10 Directing Business Representative Alex Hoekstra. “The bargaining unit called for a focus on equity and fairness, and their new contract does just that.”

“We are thrilled to welcome this dedicated group of workers,” said IAM District 10 Organizer Anne Wiberg. “By uniting together, they changed their workplace for the better. This contract reflects their commitment and persistence. They knew the value of being in the IAM from the start.” 

“I couldn’t be more proud of what these new members accomplished,” said IAM Midwest Territory General Vice President Steve Galloway. “Securing a first contract is the ultimate, true win of a successful organizing campaign. The IAM members at MAM took their future into their own hands bargaining and ensuring guaranteed raises and procedures that protect workers. I congratulate them on ratifying their first agreement.”

Museum employees work in various departments including Art Preparation, Conservation, Curatorial, Design, Development, Education, Facilities, Food & Beverage, Information Systems, Library, Marketing, Registrar, Museum Store, and Visitor Services. 

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IAM Vows to Keep Fighting to Protect Voting Rights

The recently unsuccessful opportunity for the U.S. Congress to thwart the rising attacks on our nation’s voting rights is unfortunate, but that will not stop the Machinists Union from continuing to advocate for means to restore the voting rights to protect the democracy of this great nation.

Despite aggressive advocating from the IAM and scores of other labor unions, the Senate recently failed to get enough votes to pause the filibuster rule, which is the 60-vote threshold to advance most legislation. The action failed in a 48-52 vote with Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) joining all Senate Republicans in the opposition of the rules change.

That essentially halted the advancement of the House-passed Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, two pieces of legislation that would restore and strengthen parts of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

That includes: 

  • Require early voting in all fifty states
  • Create a national standard for mail voting
  • Give Americans a public holiday to vote
  • Establish clear federal redistricting standards to stop gerrymandered districts
  • Create automatic voter registrations

The right to vote for whom we want to represent us is the foundational cornerstone of our democracy. Our ability to cast our ballot each Election Day is fundamental to our system of government. Yet, in 2021, at least 19 states passed 34 laws restricting access to voting. American democracy is under attack.

“Despite the disappointing vote in the Senate, our only recourse is to keep battling and organizing to protect our basic democratic right, the freedom to vote,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez, Jr., who previously wrote a letter to U.S. Senators.  “This fight is far from over. The Machinists will continue to lobby for this vital legislation because our democracy is too important for us ever to relent.”

Also, IAM members contacted their Senators , asking them to end the filibuster procedure and support the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act.

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